Our dear friend and colleague Tom Spencer passed away peacefully on 4 May 2023 at the Moorlands Lodge care home in Hindhead, Surrey, UK where he resided following his diagnoses with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy in 2018. He was 75.
Born on 10 April 1948, Tom was a former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) having served as Conservative MEP for Derbyshire from 1979 to 1984, Conservative MEP for Surrey West from 1989 to 1994, and as Conservative MEP for Surrey from 1994 to 1999. He was leader of the UK Conservative MEPs from 1995 to 1998 and from 1997-99 he was President of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights and Defence Policy.
He was a member of the Advisory Council of the Institute for Environmental Security (IES) and Vice-Chair of IES (2005-2017). He also was a founding member and Vice-Chair of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC) initiated by IES in 2009.
Wouter Veening, President of IES said, “The IES and GMACCC owe a tremendous amount to Tom with his creative energy, his political skills, his commitment to the causes of environment and security, his brilliant wit, and his good company. The best way to honour his legacy and his personality is to continue in the same spirit to actively address the current predicament of the planetary ecology which is more indispensable than ever. Our thoughts are with his family and all those who were close to him in his personal life.”
Among his many other leadership positions, Tom was President of GLOBE International - Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (1995-99); Chairman of Counterpart Europe (2000-02), an NGO active in sixty countries; a Commissioner of the Commission on Globalisation (2000-03); Advisor to the Symposia on Religion, Science & the Environment organised by His All Holiness the Patriarch of Constantinople (1995-2010); Founding Executive Director of the European Centre for Public Affairs (1987-89 and 1999-2011): and Deputy Chairman, Pro Europa: The Brussels Council of the British European Movement (since 2013).
Tom was awarded the Robert Schuman Silver Medal for European Unity in October 1973. The medal was given by jury decision from the Hamburg Alfred Toepfer Foundation to people between 18 and 35 who particularly distinguished themselves through their efforts for European harmony.
Educated at Pangbourne Nautical College and the University of Southampton, he was Associate Dean of Templeton College, Oxford (1984-89); Professor of Global Governance, University of Surrey (2000-04); Visiting Professor of Public Affairs, Brunel University (since 2003), Visiting Professor of Public Affairs, University of Chester (since 2010); and a member of the Professional Practice Panel of the European Public Affairs Consultants’ Association (EPACA).
Tom is the (co-)author of the books “Public Affairs and Power: Essays in a Time of Fear” (2003), “Everything Flows: Essays on Public Affairs and Change” (2005), “Challenge & Response: Essays on Public Affairs & Transparency”, (2006) and “The Future of Public Trust: Public Affairs in a Time of Crisis” (2008).